Online shopping traps (I’m looking at you, Black Friday)

I drove into my driveway this week to find this:

My first thought was, “Wow, that’s a little embarrassing. Clearly I love online shopping.” Then, as I unstacked the boxes, I found this little note:

At first I thought I had a hilarious mailman, but no, it was my husband leaving a not-so-subtle hint that I need to stop online shopping.

He’s right. I do. It’s not like I’m an addict or anything (I know, I know, that’s the first thing all addicts say), and I’m not spending egregious amounts of money. Most of the things I buy online are on clearance with free shipping. So, really, I’m saving money.

OK. That argument doesn’t work on my husband, either. I think this cartoon sums up his side of the conversation nicely:

But online shopping is just so easy. Let’s face it, going shopping at an actual store with a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old is a recipe for disaster. If you’ve ever chased a toddler out of a dressing room with a pair of jeans around your ankles, you know what I’m talking about.

I do realize that coming home everyday to a package is not normal . . . and maybe not healthy. So I’m trying to scale back. Of course I pick the start of Black Friday deals to curb my love of online shopping. It seems like everywhere I turn is another can’t miss offer.

In fact, my love affair with online shopping began a year ago thanks to the Amazon lightning deals that start the day after Thanksgiving. But this year, I’m determined not to get sucked in by Amazon’s insidious little ticking bargain clock or the flood of emails in my inbox proclaiming I must get mine before it’s too late. TOO LATE!

So help me out. How do you curb your online spending? How do you take advantage of post-Thanksgiving sales without letting them take advantage of you?


  1. Danny Chipman

    I avoid Black Friday sales like the plague. I mean, seriously. Store employees being stampeded to death? Pepper spray attacks? Not to mention having to wake up ridiculously early in the morning and stand in long lines in the cold just to get into the store then long lines to get out of it. I much prefer having stuff come to ME. And if I don’t get it for a killer deal, I still get it for a good deal, and the “convenience fee” is well worth it. Not to mention I’m helping to keep USPS from bankruptcy.

    We don’t watch TV (but we’re big into movies and DVDs from the library ^_^ ), and I don’t give my kids the annual toy guides, so for the most part we avoid the advertising and excessive gimmes. The toys they want I know they really want, and they’re usually not what’s on Black Friday shelves anyway (case in point, my 5-year-old daughter really wants a telescope and a ukelele this year).

    I make sure we have a set budget and then shop for only those things I put on the list. The only splurging I indulge in is last-minute stocking stuffers (usually candy I buy at the store).

    If your husband thinks three boxes in the driveway are indicative of a severe problem, it would be hilarious to see what he thinks of my holiday season deliveries.

  2. John Charity Spring

    Sadly, Stewart has falled victim to left-wing consumerism. Of course, she is not alone. Most of the public has fallen for the idea that material goods are more important than anything else.

    Black Friday has ruined Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the entire period in between. It is nothing but a false and commercial festival in which young parents try to buy their children’s love by spending money they don’t have for things they don’t need. Ironically, this doesn’t create love, it creates greed, avarice, and discontent. Indeed, it is a large part of the cause of the epidemic of spoiled brats that has inundated society.

    This year, all parents who truly care about the welfare of their children must resolve to avoid Black Friday, whether in person or on line. The overindulgence and spoiling must end now.

  3. ontheedge

    JCS- I will be shopping on Black Friday. Not to get things to overindulge or spoil my children with but to get them winter pj’s. My husband and I cannot afford to buy our children clothes and full price so we must spend our money smartly and get our children the things that they need from this sale. (They usually receive clothes from the second hand store, but sometimes it’s nice to get something new) I agree that many people buy things that they don’t need, but should my children go without clothes just so I can say that I am not falling victim to consumerism?

  4. citygrrl

    JCS: How is consumerism “left wing?” If only Erin would make cornhusk dolls for her daughters and pass out horehound candy! I’m sure she would make it all with lots of love. Erin — at least your husband has a sense of humor about your shopping…

  5. Momof7

    I try to only buy things I actually need. I’m a sucker for a good sale so I just don’t go shopping. If I decide I need a new dress, I go buy a new dress not lots of dresses, shoes and a handbag to match. When my oldest four were little, my husband’s job had him out of town a lot. I went to Walmart often just to have something to do. I wish all the money I spent on small purchases had gone into savings. I finally realized I was shopping out of boredom and stopped.

    My advice; sit down, make an all inclusive shopping list for what you want to get your kids/husband/etc. Don’t even look at the online sites, figure out what they would want, then go get just those things. Sometimes spending a little more to avoid the traps is a great idea. If that doesn’t work, make sure you only shop when your husband is around. Mine rarely tells me no but just his presence helps me really evaluate whether I actually want it or not. (Not to mention when you move every few years, it only take a few moves to realize how much most of your belongings are just stuff that you have to pack and unpack.)

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